South America is a continent of extremes. In the north is warm and tropical, while down south glaciers and fjords grace the landscapes. But no matter where we cruise in South America, it’s always an adventure. Full of culture and some of the world’s most amazing sights, every cruise to South America is filled with memorable moments and experiences that are captivating and unique. In one cruise alone guests might go from lounging on a golden beach to walking through a penguin colony to learning the art of Tango.
If you’re looking for a cruise that is beyond the ordinary, here are 10 reasons (in no particular order) why South America should be your next vacation.
These cute black and white creatures are a staple of South America cruising when south of the equator. Many of the ports offer shore excursions to visit colonies and see the variety of penguins that call this part of the world home. Punta Arenas, Chile; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and the Falkland Islands all offer Journeys Ashore to get you up close with Rockhopper, Gentoo, Magellan penguins and more! If you dreamed of walking among penguins, South America is a must.
2. GLACIERS & FJORDS GALORE!
Norway isn’t the only country with dazzling fjords. On cruises to the tip of South America, guests can explore Chile’s and Argentina’s gorgeous landscapes, which include mountains, valleys, fjords and glaciers. A highlight of exploring this region is scenic cruising past the Romanche and Alemania glaciers in Chile, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and Argentina’s Glacier Alley.
The most remote continent in the world, a cruise to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure filled with more “ohhs” and “ahhhhhs” than you could ever imagine. From penguins gliding across the ice to imposing glaciers that can be seen above and below water, Antarctica is a must-do on every avid traveler’s bucket list.
4. FAMOUS BEACHES
Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Ipanema and Copacabana beaches were put on the map thanks to catchy tunes, but today they are known as exotic and trendsetting destinations full of beautiful people, surrounded by equally gorgeous scenery. Bars, shops and restaurants cascade from the beaches into the surrounding neighborhoods, but as expected the sandy beach is the most popular hangout.
5. DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!
There’s no doubt that South America is king when it comes to dance. From the tango to the samba, cities around the continent show off their skills in shows and exhibitions. The Tango: A Night of Passion & Desire tour in Buenos Aires features a marvelously entertaining tango show arranged exclusively for Holland America Line guests. The performers leave you breathless with their skills, timing, passion and stamina. The Night Out In Rio: Samba Show tour in Rio de Janeiro offers a firsthand glimpse of Rio’s fabulous nightlife. You’ll visit a local show house and enjoy a live presentation featuring dazzling color, costumes, song and dance of Afro-Brazilian culture. You’ll quickly fall in love with the samba beat and enjoy the most important dance of the world-famous Carnival festival.
6. ICONIC SIGHTS
A call at Callao (Lima), Peru, is the perfect opportunity to see the ruins at Machu Picchu. This stone city was built in the 15-century but abandoned just a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. It was rediscovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham. The Lost City of the Incas represents the cultural heritage of mankind and is located almost 8,000 feet above sea level. In Brazil, no sight is more famous than the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio. Over 300,000 visitors make the trip every year to see the statue and the stunning view from the peak’s platform of downtown Rio. The statue stands 125 feet tall and will always welcome you with open arms. If there’s time for an overland adventure, a call at Buenos Aires allows time to visit the impressive Iguazu Falls. Located at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the falls are one of nature’s most impressive monuments.
7. THE AMAZON
Nine different South American nations have territory in the Amazon, but 60 percent of the rain forest can be found in Brazil. Holland America Line’s ships cruise along the Amazon river and take guests to a variety of unique calls along the way. If spending the night in the Amazon jungle is on your bucket list, the Amazon Ecopark: A Night in the Jungle overnight tour at Manaus is the one to choose. This tour invites guests to spend the night at the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge in the heart of the jungle. Participants are able to visit the homes of local residents to learn about their traditions and jungle life. At night guests spot alligators before heading back to the lodge.
One of the great pleasures of travel is the opportunity to sample local food and drink. While you may find language barriers along the way, an appreciation for good food is a universal language and can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in local cultures. In Buenos Aires, indulge in empanadas, choripan (sausage with French baguette), barbecued meats, grilled provoleta cheese and chimichurri (a dipping sauce of fresh herbs, garlic, and peppers) during a tour taht goes on a Culinary Walk through the city. And if coffee is your passion, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Café Vasar coffee farm in Ecuador.
9. FEEL THE BEAT OF CARNIVAL
If you find yourself in Rio in February on a Holland America cruise, you’re in for a special treat. The legendary Carnival parade fills the streets of Rio. Extraordinary floats trimmed with samba dancers and dazzling costumes move and groove down the street to Rio’s signature Afro-Brazilian beats. Carnival is held in the Sambodromo, a stadium-like structure built in 1984 that stretches down the avenue to Apotheosis Square. If you’re interested in visiting Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, the 2017 24-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer and the 48-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer are available for bookings.
10. BUSTLING NIGHTLIFE
With several late departures or overnight calls, South America’s nightlife dazzles as much as the star-filled sky. Attend the Night of Passion Tango show in Buenos Aires; tour Lima, Peru, at night and see the spectacle of the Magic Water Circuit of Lima — one of the most visited attractions in the city; spend the evening at Manaus’ world-famous Teatro Amazonas Opera House in the heart of the Amazon; and Rio’s evening Samba show is a dazzling spectacle of color and costumes.
Are you looking to book a cruise to South America? Which ports are you most excited to visit?
Remember, if you’re looking for a South America cruise now is the time to book. Our Anniversary Sale was just extended to July 1, so book before then to take advantage of a $100 beverage card and free gratuities per stateroom and free or reduced kids fares on select cruises and Land+Sea Journeys.